14% eh?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has found that 300,000 excess deaths were recorded in the US this year – 66% of which are accounted for by the official coronavirus death toll of around 220,000. Excess deaths refer to how many more deaths have been reported in total this year compared with the same period last year. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it is closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase. The remaining deaths, the CDC wrote, “provide information about the degree to which Covid-19 deaths might be underascertained”.

So, is that more or less than the normal variabilty seen over time?

27 thoughts on “14% eh?”

  1. The remaining deaths…

    that’s 80,000 of them, or roughly a quarter of the excess deaths

    …the CDC wrote, “provide information about the degree to which Covid-19 deaths might be underascertained”.

    It rather suggests that nobody knew what they were counting and thus how to set about doing it properly. It’s astonishing that far-reaching and costly decisions are mad on the back of junk information.

  2. If one disease is killing an abnormally high number of the population it leaves fewer people to be victims of all the other causes. In this case, if Granny dies of covid, she won’t be dying of flu, heart disease, dementia or whatever. So non-covid excess mortality should be reduced. If you are counting it right. If however you give money and resource to healthcare organisations to report covid, the first thing that gets buggered is the count. And then any healthcare for non-covid patients.

  3. TMB – “It’s astonishing that far-reaching and costly decisions are mad on the back of junk information.”

    I think you mean “MADE on the back”.

    Ah, sorry, no, you were right the first time. My apologies.

  4. What they seem to do is pick and choose which stat is most frightening.

    If your death toll over the last 5 years was 10,5,10,5,10 and this year it was 11, you pick the 5 year average of 8 so that deaths are 37.5% higher than the 5 year average. If it was 10,5,10,10,5 you pick last year’s so that 11 is more than double last year’s.

    I heard somewhere (can’t find the source) that so far in percentage terms 2020 is about 6th in the last 30 years for ‘all cause’ deaths in the UK.

  5. 14.5% is substantially above anything you would expect to see, and it’s a large enough number of events in a large enough sample over a long enough period of time to believe it. I don’t think that governments are (yet) faking all-cause death counts. For obvious reasons they are usually extremely accurate.

    Unfortunately, distinguishing the net contributions of covid and the reaction to it is likely to be very hard, which is exactly what the panickers want. The covid death number is largely junk, and not even consistently junky in terms of the actual covid deaths that don’t get counted, and not-covid deaths that do. Being consistent junk would at least make it easier to make comparisons and follow trends. As it stands, it isn’t comparable between countries or even within a country over time.

    Rhoda has it – this is now just another competing risk for pushing the elderly frail off into the next world. If we weren’t testing for it, we would not, pace a couple of clinical specifics in severely-affected people, even notice it was there. We will certainly see more covid deaths, because we are looking out for them. I doubt we will see much excess mortality this winter compared to others. We may even see less mortality than previous winters, given that it ran its course early in the year.

  6. BiG: We may even see less mortality than previous winters, given that it ran its course early in the year.

    I agree that Excess Winter Deaths (in terms of the standard ‘flu, pneumonia weeding out of the elderly infirm) might been down but don’t you think that non-covid mortality will rise (possibly even considerably) as a result of sick (cancer, heart disease) people having been denied essential treatment for the last six months?

  7. @TMB – I suspect the excess non-Covid deaths will be more spread out. Cancers not picked up in time this year will probably be killing people over the next few years.

    As others more knowledgeable than me have pointed out, flu deaths overt the last couple of years have been down on the average so there was a lot of dry tinder out there. Maybe even advances in medicine over the last decade have helped preserve wrinklies longer than normal, until Covid-19 came along as a catch up exercise.

    More ‘hot-spot’ unintelligible but definitely scary graphics yesterday at the press briefing. Look! Some of those graphs had dark purple in them. The most terrifying of colours. If dark purple is in the graph, we’d better get digging the bomb shelters.

  8. “Excess deaths refer to how many more deaths have been reported in total this year compared with the same period last year.”

    Excess deaths are usually reported as compared with the average over the previous 5 years, sometimes longer. Using just the previous year’s figures looks like cherry picking or it could just be a journalist who doesn’t understand the numbers in the press release. It’s the Guardian, I’ll go with the latter.

  9. Rhoda–The reason winter was supposedly at its lowest level ever last year is because the lying MFs stuffed 1000s of flu victims into their C19 bullshit to boost a bogus pandemic/powergrab.

  10. Surely the point should be to compare the current death total to other severe death years, not an average? Thus determining whether what we are seeing is ‘unprecedented’ or not? If the average death rate is X over the last 30 years, but there’s at least one X+15% year in there then an X+14% year is within the previously experienced range. Whereas if the range floats about X+/-5% then a 14% increase is significantly out of range.

  11. The UK’s mortality rate (deaths per 1000 people) fell every year since the end of the ’70s until 2014. At that stage, I assume, the fact that all the people who avoided dying of car or plane crashes, of newly treatable diseases or of any of the myriad other causes of death we’ve got a better grip of got old enough that their age-related deaths stated outweighing any reductions of other causes. Last year’s UN World Population Prospects report predicted (or perhaps projected…) that the rate would continue to rise until the 2050s or 60s. (I got the data from macrotrends.net/countries/GBR/united-kindom/death-rate which links to the UN Data – I haven’t the time or inclination to dive deeper into the UN site).

    “Excess deaths” is a measure of how many people died compared to what one might otherwise expect. While comparing this year with an average of the previous 5 seems more sensible than just comparing with last year, if we were on an upward mortality trend it would actually be further from the “expected” value than comparing with last year alone…

  12. “as a result of sick (cancer, heart disease) people having been denied essential treatment for the last six months?”

    Here’s something I don’t understand. Are the non-treatments mainly a function of (i) ministerial fiat, or (ii) NHS management decisions, or (iii) a fearful population avoiding the hospitals?

  13. The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has found that 300,000 excess deaths were recorded in the US this year – 66% of which are accounted for by the official coronavirus death toll of around 220,000.

    Are they calculating these excess deaths on the back of an Excel spreadsheet?

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    Andrew C,

    I heard somewhere (can’t find the source) that so far in percentage terms 2020 is about 6th in the last 30 years for ‘all cause’ deaths in the UK.

    Sounds like the one that was on Hector Drummond’s blog some time back but he hasn’t got a search function and the category Covid-19 is too big.

  15. I’ll take the 80k excess deaths. These are attributable to the actions govts have taken to try to avoid Covid deaths. These are heart attacks not treated, elderly people giving up hope in their enforced loneliness.

    i.e. Govts may think their actions have reduced the _Covid_ deaths that otherwise might have happened, but the cost was 80k other deaths. And a wrecked economy and millions of wrecked lives as a result. And more deaths to come from un-diagnosed/un-treated cancers etc etc.

    I don’t think this was a good trade.

  16. Covid is already destined to fade into obscurity on the background of a thousand and one circulating respiratory bugs that frequently precipitate death in end of lifers, less frequently in the general population, and which no one thinks we need to destroy what remains of western civilisation for. The only question of even academic interest is whether this has happened already, or at what point in the next year or two it happens, aided by an effective vaccine or not.

    The zero covid strategy, trying to eliminate it, would be ruinously expensive, a terrible waste of resources, and a fool’s errand. Which is why that is apparently the policy to be followed.

  17. If the usual deaths are 1,9 million and deaths in excess of that are 220 000 attributed to Covid then that is 11,5% increase because of Covid, not 14,5%.

    That leaves 80 000 excess deaths from other causes… what and why? Caused by lockdown?

    How many of the COVID deaths would have happened anyway from ‘other’ if COVID hadn’t got to them first? What would excess deaths have been without the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic? Average age of deaths is 80 years: 95% have at least one serious underlying condition; 70% have two or more.

    As somebody said COVID doesn’t kill, the victim dies from whatever disease they already have, just like with ‘flu or pneumonia.

    This is the problem with ‘the numbers’ and COVID.

  18. “How many of the COVID deaths would have happened anyway from ‘other’ if COVID hadn’t got to them first? ”

    100% of them, all of them later.

    That is what you are up against. 130 million must starve (source: UN/Oxfam) so you don’t “kill granny”. Doesn’t look over the horizon much, does it, this compassionate leftism?

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany October 21, 2020 at 11:08 pm – “That is what you are up against. 130 million must starve (source: UN/Oxfam) so you don’t “kill granny”. Doesn’t look over the horizon much, does it, this compassionate leftism?”

    It is worse than that because the policy was and is to let 130 million starve *and* kill Granny. Because of the “experts” idiotic predictions, the governments of Scotland, New York et al pushed old people with the disease out of hospital and into old people’s homes. So the old people in New Jersey all died. While shutting down the world’s economy.

    All because they like what they see in China and they hate Trump.

    A sensible policy would have been to save the grannies *and* the poor of the Third World by leaving the economy open and isolating the old.

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